Work Culture in Startups

Work Culture

One step into the startup journey and someone comes up and asks, “What’s your work culture like?”

I’ve worked in the past with a startup to a big corporate. Somehow the word Work Culture was never defined as some 10 points on the poster of the office wall to follow. It was part of the system at a subconscious level without it being told. Honestly, I keep hearing the word corporate culture so often and if asked a few different people what exactly that means you are bound to get varied answers (from corporate hierarchy to politics to coffee machines). 


As an entrepreneur I have had a tough time defining what it really is. Casual, flexible, fun, relaxed, serious workaholics, Play games to keep team building and happy hours/ pizza parties every week…. The undefined list goes on.

And somehow the defined ones that I have come across is where entrepreneurs love to define their work culture in some glossy coffee table magazine language that have a “I am Cool na?” written all over it’s subtext. I doubt there is any entrepreneur out there saying “We have strict rules culture where we whip ass if someone doesn’t slog their rear ends off”. If there are some out there like that… then my condolences to the teams and the employees.


Work Culture

The point I am trying to make is that in a startup atmosphere (especially a small team) Work Culture to me is what becomes. The personalities at the top that filter down the behavior of the working environment. That’s what it becomes… subconsciously. That does not mean there shouldn’t be any conscious effort towards anything. It simply means your basic values and nature of working is what gets absorbed by the team. So the foremost thing is to have good work ethics at the top and go by the most important word (listed in the end of article).

When we decided to put a basketball hoop in the office or a chess table or keep daily fresh foods for all along with an open pantry we weren’t creating a culture knowingly. We were simply creating a healthy atmosphere to work.

I am not against the idea of work culture. I am against bounding it by a specific definition that it’s given as opposed to what it becomes as a part of our daily work atmosphere. It is something that gets inherited. It’s a collection of energy of the people… the team that you build. And subconsciously you build it with that culture that resonates as your Work Culture.


Work Culture

If I had to pick one word how to define Work Culture it would be RESPECT. A Culture of Respect encompasses and gives the right direction to all things that matter. Respect for team, employees, other persons time, your Work… you catch the drift.

On a lighter note here’s a few of the Work Cultures of some fellow entrepreneurs from different fields:

  • Work Hard Party Harder
  • Open communication
  • Flexible environment
  • Bean Bags kinda Culture 🙂

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